Many Americans—50 percent of men ages 65 to 74 and almost 40 percent of women over age 75—take statins, medication that lowers cholesterol levels., according to the report, Health, United States, 2010.

Up to 75 per cent of patients who take statins to treat elevated cholesterol levels may suffer from muscle pain. New research indicates that pain may be caused by statins’ effect on muscles’ energy production.

The research was conducted by investigators at the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen.

Statin is a class of drugs used to treat high levels of blood cholesterol by way of inhibiting the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol, according to a university press release. Statins are the most potent drugs on the market for lowering low-density cholesterol.

Investigators also showed that the patients examined who were being treated with statins had low levels of the key protein Q10, the press release noted. Q10 depletion and ensuing lower energy production in the muscles could be the biological cause of the muscle pain that is a problem for many patients.

The research was published in the Journal of The American College of Cardiology.

Related article:

Strong Muscles = Better Health for Older Adults